The increase of breath ammonia induced by niacin ingestion quantified by selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry.
ABSTRACT The ingestion of relatively large doses of the vitamin niacin by healthy volunteers results in a reddening of the skin, a skin 'flush'. Thus, we have carried out a study of the breath metabolites of two healthy volunteers following (i) the ingestion of 200 mg of immediate-release niacin, (ii) as (i) but preceded by the ingestion of 325 mg of aspirin that diminishes the skin 'flush', (iii) ingestion of 500 mg of slow-release niacin. On-line breath analysis was carried out using selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry, SIFT-MS. The interesting new observation is that the breath ammonia levels of both volunteers clearly increased following (i) and (ii), and an obvious skin flush did occur following (i) but not following (ii). The slow-release niacin (iii) did not result in a flush and the breath ammonia levels increased more slowly and did not reach the higher levels produced by (i) and (ii). The results of these experiments demonstrate that breath ammonia levels are dependent on the blood/plasma levels of niacin, but are not directly related to the flushing phenomenon, and that the observed increases in blood/breath ammonia levels are consistent with current knowledge of the metabolic pathways of niacin. The parallel measurements of breath isoprene are presented, which demonstrate the quality of breath analyses that can be achieved using SIFT-MS.